Alberto Ascherio, MD, DrPH, is a Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health and a Professor of Medicine at the Harvard Medical School.
Dr. Ascherio graduated in medicine at the University of Milan in 1978. He practiced medicine and public health in Latin America and Africa for several years and then moved to Boston, where he received a doctoral degree in epidemiology in 1992 and joined the faculty at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
His early research was devoted to the discovery of the dietary determinants for arterial blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases and stroke. In particular, he contributed to identifying the deleterious role of trans-unsaturated fatty acids intake for coronary heart disease. Over the past 20 years he has focused his work on neurological diseases. His current research is primarily devoted to finding the causes of multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson’s disease (PD), and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Among the most notable discoveries to which he has contributed is the key role of infection with the Epstein-Barr virus, vitamin D insufficiency, and cigarette smoking as risk factors for MS, the importance of vitamin D status as a determinant of MS progression, the role of caffeine consumption and urate as negative risk factors for PD, and urate elevation as a promising therapeutic strategy in PD. He is currently the PI of two large longitudinal metabolomic investigations on biomarkers of ALS and PD, a study on the identification of prodromal PD, and he is conducting several investigations on risk factors for MS risk and progression.